Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Katherine crocs

Yesterday there was a news report from CLP member from Katherine Willem Westra van Holthe that crocodile management wasn't happening in 2008 for that region. He suggested that this was the reason for an increase in crocodiles being caught in the popular tourist region of Nitmiluk National Park. He said that staff were not replaced after the more experienced crocodile ranger had left the service (who now runs the local butchers in the town!) and traps were not baited and left hanging in trees. Katherine rangers apparently had to travel to Darwin in their own time to receive training from the specialist croc team.

The crocodile management plan for Katherine has an exclusion zone of about 20 kms of the river close to town as well as the gorge region. Regular spotlight surveys of these regions are supposed to be carried out and traps set in the deep billabongs where the salties are usually found.
This Saltwater Crocodile exclusion zone is similar to the one for Darwin Harbour, the difference being that a lot more people swim in the Katherine River than in the Darwin Harbour, however they do catch a lot more crocs over a much larger area in Darwin.

Later on a spokesperson from the department stated that they don't alway's bait the traps in the river because they end up catching too many freshwater crocodiles.

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